Spicy Sausage Rigatoni

Whoa-ho-hoaaa. This Spicy Sausage Rigatoni + a smooth glass of Barefoot Rich Red Blend is my newest, bestest friend.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni in a white baking dish.

You guysss. We are super-excited to have today’s post sponsored by our wine brand of choice: Barefoot Wine!


Barefoot is and always has been one of my favorite wines, because it’s so super accessible, affordable, and as I’ve only said a million and one times, actually tastes good. Mind: blown. And while I am partial to the Malbec, this lovely, new-to-me Rich Red Blend is a force to be reckoned with: “jammy and rich with lots of black fruit. Sweet vanilla aromas and spicy flavors complement the smooth, lingering finish.” Gosh. Twist my arm.

But the pasta.

I think you know that I do love my vegetables, which is convenient since there are actually two good sources of veggies in this recipe (FOR REAL), but all the good veggie things aside, there are some times when you just need to find a way to get some spicy Italian sausage in your life.

And if that spicy Italian sausage can come in tandem with finely minced golden brown sautéed onions and carrots, red pepper flakes, oregano, and a splash of Barefoot Rich Red Blend all swimming in the magic that is San Marzano tomatoes and served on whole wheat rigatoni with FRESH BASIL RIBBONS (summer, you’re a gem) and Parmesan to infinity and beyond? Well, then, do we even need to keep talking?

Here, take a plate.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni close up.

Noodles with red pasta sauce.

Oh, and a glass.

Red wine.

Last weekend, while my parents enjoyed a weekend getaway and Bjork and I went back “home” and watched my siblings aka let them do whatever they wanted (just kidding, mom and dad, juuust kidding), we brought Sage with us for a little weekend adventure. This is one of the many perks of being raised in a dog-loving family: bring the dog! give her lots of dog treats! don’t mind the bad breath and mass amounts of shedding!

But the thing is, my parents have two dogs (King Charles Cavalier Spaniels, anyone?) and the boys are basically just two old dog-men who do whatever they want and sleep wherever they want and basically live for the singular goal of naps and hoarding treats.

The boys warmly welcomed Sage into the new pack, and Sage was like, meh. Whatever, guys.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni in a baking dish.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni on two plates with red wine.

One night we went to go pick up pizza, because, well, what else? It’s small town Minnesota on a Saturday night. And on the way out the door, in a really weird, poor, brain-off decision making moment, we decided to bring the dogs with for a pizza joy ride. ALL THREE OF THEM. Do I even need to tell you that we had taken the car to get cleaned, um, THAT DAY? No. We’re just that obvious with life.

Everyone had a great time looking out the windows and shedding insane amounts on our freshly cleaned backseat (did I mention that already?) and sniffing at the pizza, except our Baby Princess, our Precious Girl Sage.

I feel like this is the moment where you realize your child is the un-fun, dead-head whiny one who lacks the Have a Good Time gene, but the child is actually a dog, and you somehow still think it’s kind of the cutest, most hilarious thing ever.

Would this be considered slapstick dog humor? We are so there.

Dogs sitting in a car.

Sage is so funny about food – while my parents’  dogs will go wild for annnnnything food-related with a rabid vengeance (including pizza!), Sage turns her nose up. UNLESS.

Unless there is meat, and that includes her new interest – spicy Italian sausage. There have been a handful of meat recipes around this blog lately (steak mac and cheese, for example?), and Sage has taken notice.

It kind of runs in the family – not necessarily the love of meat, but the love of this Spicy Sausage Rigatoni. Bjork was a big big big fan, and me too – probably because this is the kind of meal that reminds both of us of all those yummy, simple, comforting, post-sports-practice meals we had growing up that were best eaten with a simple green salad and a glass of milk. Minnesota born and raised, yo!

You guys. We’re bringing the spice to small town Minnesota! My family, Bjork, me, and Sagey Girl all approve.

Now I’ve filled up a plate for you, so bring me your wine glass and that bottle of Barefoot’s Rich Red Blend and we’ll be all set to let the good meal vibes roll.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni in a baking dish.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni in a serving dish.

Spicy Sausage Rigatoni

  • Author: Pinch of Yum
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 8-10


Spicy Sausage Rigatoni – my whole family LOVES this recipe! Real food ingredients like whole wheat rigatoni, San Marzano tomatoes, and red wine.


  • 1 tablespoon oil or butter
  • half of a yellow onion, minced
  • 4 carrots, minced
  • 12 ounces spicy Italian sausage (casings removed – just the ground meat)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 cup Barefoot Rich Red Blend
  • 1 28 ounce can San Marzano tomatoes, including their juice
  • 1/4 cup balsamic or Italian dressing (optional)
  • 1 lb. whole wheat rigatoni
  • 1/2 cup reserved pasta water
  • Parmesan and parsley or basil for topping


  1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add the onion and carrots – saute for 10 minutes or so, until the vegetables are very soft.
  2. Add the ground sausage, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. When the sausage is fully cooked, add the wine to get the browned bits off the bottom of the pan.
  3. Add the tomatoes and dressing – simmer for 10-20 minutes while the pasta is cooking.
  4. Cook the pasta according to package directions. When draining, reserve 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Combine the pasta, the sauce, and the reserved water and toss gently to combine. Transfer to a large serving dish and top with Parmesan and parsley or basil. Serve with more Barefoot Rich Red Blend!

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Thank you again to Barefoot for sponsoring this post! And guys. You can thank them by treating yourself to a bottle of their Rich Red Blend. WIN WIN WIN WIN WINNNN.

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